« | »

Beleaguered Speaker Expected to Quit

But don’t worry. It’s not that Speaker of that House.

From an irony proof New York Times:

Britain’s Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin (L), is seen walking in a procession during the State Opening of Parliament in the Member’s Lobby of the Houses of Parliament, in London in December 3, 2008.

Beleaguered British Speaker Faces Demands to Quit


May 20, 2009

LONDON — After days of humiliating disclosures about the liberties British legislators take with their expenses, British news reports said the speaker of the House of Commons planned to address Parliament Tuesday and was expected to offer his resignation. But it was not clear if he would step down immediately or seek to wait until the next national elections…

Mr. Martin’s resignation would be the first ouster of a speaker in more than 300 years and would likely be seen by British political analysts as a sign that Prime Minister Gordon Brown had bowed to legislators’ calls for his departure, further damaging his political fortunes. The British leader is battling disastrous poll ratings in advance of elections that must be held within a year.

Without identifying sources, both the BBC and Sky News reported that the speaker, Michael Martin, planned to make his intentions known later on Tuesday. The move followed a bruising session of Parliament on Monday when legislators vented their frustration, saying Mr. Martin had lost authority and should resign. A group of legislators then proposed a no-confidence vote on Tuesday

The last time a speaker was forced out was in 1695, when Sir John Trevor quit after the House of Commons said he was guilty of taking a bribe in return for pushing legislation through Parliament…

The reputation and standing of this house, in the views of those that send us here, is at the lowest point I can ever remember,” Richard Shepherd, a Conservative member of Parliament, declared, addressing his remarks to Mr. Martin, who was sitting in the speaker’s chair overhead. “Many out there will not believe that we are serious about the changes that are necessary as long as you are in the chair.” …

But even some of his fellow party members were willing to criticize Mr. Martin to his face. “Your early retirement, sir, would help the reputation of the house,” said David Winnick, a Labor member of Parliament.

In a sign of the populist outrage, The Sun, a tabloid, published a front-page editorial calling for Mr. Brown to dissolve Parliament and call a general election — which Labor would surely lose. The headline read, “In the Name of God … Go.”

The fate of the speaker is in many ways a sideshow to the scandal enveloping the House of Commons, over the freewheeling attitude of many legislators toward their parliamentary expense accounts. The Daily Telegraph obtained a disk containing details of lawmakers’ claims for the past four years, and it has been publishing its revelations in chunks for more than a week.

It turns out that members of Parliament have charged — and been routinely reimbursed — for items like hedge-trimming, moat-clearing and tennis court repairs.

They have put manure, massage chairs and pornographic videos on their expense accounts. They have charged for flat-screen televisions and bathrobes, and for workers to change their light bulbs and show them how to operate their washing machines. They have used their expense accounts to pay off their mortgages and to renovate houses that they then sold at huge profits.

In some, possibly criminal, cases, they have charged for mortgages that had already been paid off.

One member of Parliament bought so much in the upscale food section of the department store Marks & Spencer that he got a free pizza wheel.

The lawmakers have been taking advantage of the so-called second-home allowance, which lets them spend as much as $37,000 a year to defray the costs of working in London but living elsewhere…

Last week, Mr. Martin seriously misjudged the mood of the legislators when, making a formal statement in the face of public outrage, he failed to apologize on behalf of Parliament. Even worse, he then attacked, from the speaker’s chair, two members who had risen to say the house should be ashamed of itself.

On Monday, although he did not do what many members want him to do — announce his resignation — he did say he was sorry, several times…

Of course the New York Times nor anyone in the media will not see the irony of a British Speaker of the House resigning over something so niggling.

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi, who has had a dozen scandals that far exceed this one, continues to skate merrily along.

She’s a Democrat, after all.

But do notice that Mr. Martin’s problems seem to be a serving as a distraction from the far larger scandal in the House of Commons.

It was ever thus.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, May 19th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “Beleaguered Speaker Expected to Quit”

  1. GL0120 says:

    Now why in the world should Pelosi resign; just because she shot her mouth off?
    We have an ex Klansman in congress, a man who left a woman to drown, others who leaked secret information in an effort to prevent a president from being successful in the fight against terrorism, and still others who accepted what can only be considered bribes to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to hurtle towards collapse.
    Good heavens people, don’t you understand, it’s different for Democrats!

  2. curvyred says:

    Darned – your headline got me all excited!

  3. Enthalpy says:

    But, we can dream.

  4. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    Dang! When I first saw the link I too thought it was about Mizz Pelosi. I was ready to start belting out in song,..’Ding Dong the witch is dead,’…how disappointing that it wasn’t so.

  5. Liberals Make Great Speedbumps says:

    That bait and switch headline was not cool Mr. Gilbert!

  6. canary says:

    Obamas got their new dog from Ted Kennedy’s litter. Whether he paid for it, or accepted it has a gift, one things for sure about the Portuguese water dog which has webbed toes. Everytime they see Bo’s webbed toes, they will be reminded of Ted’s driving off that bridge, and the long swim, long walk, and long wait while thinking, after leaving that poor girl to drown, and her family to live in fear of the Kennedy power.

  7. artboyusa says:

    I don’t know how thoroughly the amazing events of the last two weeks have been covered by the US media but it has been an extraordinary thing, a real people’s revolt against our bloated and parasitic political class. The jig is up, the gaff is blown, the cat is out of the bag and those pigs, including our Cyclopean Prime Minister, are on the run. For years they’ve bullied and harased anfd threatened and robbed us and now we’re getting topsides on them and it is a wonderful moment which, frankly, I never thought I’d see.

    Best and funniest coverage is here – check it out…http://www.order-order.com

« Front Page | To Top
« | »